Monday, Nov. 29, 2004

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Yes, it's violent, amoral and laced with profanity—ust like the Boyz N the Hood—era gangsta films to which it pays homage. But what really draws players back to this latest installment (for PlayStation2; $49.99) in the controversial Grand Theft Auto series is just how open-ended it is.

Sure, you can take your homies on that drive-by shooting raid on a rival gang, or you can grab a car at random and simply explore the state of San Andreas. The designers at Rockstar have packed the cities of Los Santos and San Fiero (a.k.a. Los Angeles and San Francisco) with hundreds of Easter egg—like surprises for many happy days of hunting.

You can get your head shaved at the barber's, pump up your muscles at a gym, grab a bucket of wings at the Clucking Bell drive-through and go watch the sun set over Verona Beach. How much crime you commit along the way is entirely up to you.

Ideal for: 18-and-over hip-hop fans.